“It’s when I die in this life, that I take refuge in a parallel world.”
― Anthony T. Hincks
In recent years one of the most exciting topics to speculate about is the idea that our reality — our universe the way it is and the way we experience it — might not be the only version of events out there. What if there are other universes, perhaps even with different versions of ourselves, different histories than our own? However, when it comes to science, this is one of the most exciting possibilities of all, but there is no actual proof yet.
Artist’s impression of parallel universes (Image Source)
What Is the Multiverse?
Most people should be familiar with the concept of parallel universes because of science fiction. However, it is interesting to note that the multiverse is a real line of speculation about the true nature of existence. In short, there is a theory that space-time is a flat, infinite expanse. Since the universe came into existence in space-time, this means that there might be the potential for more universes to come into existence in the same. Furthermore, since space-time is infinite, this means that there might be the potential for very similar universes to form, thus resulting in what is called the multiverse.
With that said, there are different lines of speculation for different kinds of multi-verses. For example, there is a theory that universes might follow quantum mechanics in some sense, meaning that there is a different universe for each different outcome of each different decision. Likewise, there is a line of speculation that universe might form via inflation on a cosmic scale, which is interesting because that could lead to universes with very different laws of physics.
Parallel Universe / Digital painting / by dirk kirchner / flickr (Image Source)
What Is the Evidence for the Existence of the Multiverse?
Unfortunately, proving the existence of the multi-verse is rather challenging. After all, we still have serious problems observing our own universe, as shown by the fact that we are still not sure what dark matter might be even though it is supposed to make up something along the lines of 80 percent of our universe’s matter. As a result, observing other universes that may or may not exist is a bit beyond our capabilities, particularly since one example has compared the process to attempting to look through a container while we are stuck within it.
However, that hasn’t stopped a lot of scientists looking into the matter. In fact, it is interesting to note that Stephen Hawking‘s last scientific paper was written with the intent of coming up with a way to study the multi-verse via the scientific method, though unfortunately, it has fallen short in that regard because our understanding of things is still too incomplete. Of course, there are also plenty of scientists who oppose the concept of the multi-verse for one reason or another. Sometimes, this is because some scientists believe that the finite nature of our universe means that there is a reduced likelihood of the existence of very similar universes. Other times, this is because some scientists think that it isn’t a very useful subject of study because there is still no way to test for the existence of a multi-verse.
With that said, it is important to note that the study of the potential of a multi-verse will continue for the time being. However, scientists are still far from the point of producing anything that even comes close to being conclusive results, meaning that it should provide fruitful material for speculation for years and years to come.